Thursday, November 11, 2004
By Susan Hall
When the seeding has been decided for teams to compete for a group title, usually the top seeded teams are projected as the schools that will make it to the championship game. For Haddon Heights, that theory was completely thrown out of the window as they have been the team to beat. The eleventh seeded Garnets were trying to make it one more time in defeating the higher seed. Collingswood was that team standing in their way and they proved to be the better team on this day. Two unanswered goals by the Panthers allowed them to rally past Haddon Heights as the top seed in the South Jersey Group 2 championship game. Collingswood captured the title by a 2-1 margin.
Game by game Haddon Heights were considered the underdog starting from the first round. Their margin of victory decreased as they approached the section final game against Collingswood. A three goal win against sixth seeded Woodstown was followed up by a two goal victory over host Glassboro who was seeded third. The very exciting and defense battle against Camden Catholic only boost the Garnets anticipation of meeting the top seed for the title.
Collingswood began this game playing like a top seeded experience team. The Panthers kept the play on Haddon Heights end of the field giving themselves several scoring chances. Collingswood would not be able to take advantage and didn’t panic when the Garnets returned the favor and scored on their rush towards the cage. Samantha Sleister scored just over the halfway mark of the first half and the Garnets had the confidence they needed. Quickly that feeling subsided when Danielle Robinson was able to score tying this game at a goal apiece.
When the second half began, so did Collingswood’s pressure on the Garnets defense. After several attempts coming up short, the Panthers took the lead when Melissa Benedetti was in the middle of a host of players but scored the go ahead goal. There was plenty of time remaining on the game clock but neither team was able to put the ball into the cage. The Panthers did what they were expected to do as the number one seed and Haddon Heights should be recognized as a team whose effect and determination got them to the finals.